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Whether it’s a customer asking for an impossible refund or expressing dissatisfaction with your product, learning how to handle difficult customer interactions is an essential part of running a call center.

Explaining De-Escalation Techniques for Call Center Services

De-escalation techniques are strategies that help customer service professionals navigate conversations with unhappy customers to prevent conflicts from reaching their breaking point. Utilizing them helps call center agents set clear, respectful boundaries to calm customer emotions and provide a better basis for resolving their concerns.

Call Center Customer Service Tips to De-Escalate Unhappy Customers

De-escalation is about understanding the customer and demonstrating empathy. Below are some techniques to help keep customers calm and satisfied while providing support:


Stay Confident

Having a sense of power and control is essential when dealing with difficult customers. Agents should have faith in their abilities to resolve problems and stay calm in the face of frustration. When reps remain confident during difficult conversations, it lets the customer know that they’re capable of helping them and that the agent takes their concerns seriously.

Script Your Response

Another de-escalation technique is to script responses by writing out responses that agents can use during challenging customer interactions. Scripting is a great way to stay on top of the situation and avoid improvising a response in the heat of the moment. Reps can also practice with a friend or colleague to make sure they’re effective in a real-life dialogue.

Listen Actively

As customers reach out to support agents, they often have one goal in mind, finding a solution to their problem. Although agents are there to help customers find a solution, it’s also important to ensure that they feel heard. That’s why it’s essential for agents to practice active listening strategies. When a customer is recounting their experience, reps should avoid interrupting them and acknowledge their concerns. Additionally, asking questions to clarify details and using validating language can help show that your agents are actively listening to them.

Mirror Their Complaint

Mirroring customer complaints is another important step in de-escalating difficult conversations with customers. By repeating their complaints to them, customers feel that agents are taking their concerns seriously and attempting to solve their problem. It also gives reps a chance to further explore the issue and ensure that the details are addressed before proceeding with a solution.

Identify the Root Cause

When customers call in with a complaint about a product or service, it’s not always clear what the source of their dissatisfaction is. In many cases, customers may be expressing their frustration with something else, like an advertisement they saw that promised something the product couldn’t deliver on. It’s your customer support agents job to understand what the root cause of the dissatisfaction is so that they can provide the best possible resolution. One way to figure out the issue behind the complaint is by having agents ask targeted questions about the customers experiences. That way, reps can determine the best way to move forward.

Break the Problem Down

It can be hard to remain calm and courteous when faced with a particularly complex customer issue, but by breaking the problem down into smaller, more manageable chunks, call center support agents can de-escalate customer frustrations and provide them with tangible progress in resolving their issue. Additionally, breaking down the issue can also make it easier to address, which can help reps quickly solve their problem in a shorter amount of time.

Offer Sympathy

Customers often approach support agents to resolve their problems and seek confirmation that their frustrations are valid. It’s the reps responsibility to make sure they feel heard by sympathizing with their concerns and offering validation. One of the most effective methods is to use affirming statements. Support agents can use phrases like I totally understand how this experience has been frustrating for you. Let’s try to work together to find a solution to your concerns, or That sounds like a dissatisfying experience. I’m going to do my best to help you resolve this issue. These statements can help customers recognize the efforts of customer support agents as they attempt to assist them.

Be Realistic

Agents should also have realistic expectations when it comes to resolving customer problems and providing them with solutions. There are limits to what reps can do, and making promises that they may not be able to keep isn’t the way to go. Instead, agents should present solutions that are actually feasible, even if they don’t give customers the exact outcome they want.

Avoid Placing Customers on Hold

No one likes being put on hold, especially when they’re already frustrated with a product or service. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for customers who call support centers to be routed through lengthy automatic voice messages, or to be put on hold multiple times as they wait for agents or are transferred from department to department. Making sure your agents do everything they can to avoid easily exacerbating negative feelings they may already have about their experience.

You can improve the customer journey by partnering with a call center that uses best practices to create ideal experiences.

Experience Outbound Call Center Services That Put the Customer First

At ListenTrust, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We understand that customers have unique needs and we strive to create an experience that’s tailored to each one. Our experienced call center agents are trained to listen to customers and develop a deep understanding of their concerns. By understanding their needs, our reps provide the best possible solution. Contact us today to learn more about our call center services.